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Not a good deal

Eric Retter | Tuesday, September 7, 2004

The average college kid gets most of his nutrients from two primary food groups – pizza and beer. Not only are these staples of the collegiate diet delicious, but they easily fit into both our schedules and our budgets. Everywhere I look, I see flyers and advertisements for pizzas that seem to get bigger and bigger but somehow dropping to record low prices, discounted for college kids. Pizza here is more common than grass. Even though they are virtually giving it away, Papa John’s, Domino’s and Sbarro still make a killing at Notre Dame.Sadly, they will not take one dollar of mine. My world crashed in around me on July 11, when my doctor told me I was a Celiac. Celiac Sprue is a genetic disorder that causes the patient to have an intolerance to gluten, a protein in grains such as wheat and barley. I come from a long, proud tradition of Celiacs. Both my mother and father have the gene. While some families produce world-class athletes and others produce great thinkers, we generate people who can’t eat bread. The worst part of Saturday evening didn’t even involve football. It came at halftime, when my friends came back with two large pizzas and a case of beer. Though offered some, I had to respectfully decline, seeing how my stale rice crackers and Coke more than filled me up, and then explain for the 4000th time why I couldn’t eat normal person food anymore.Overnight, I have become that kid, the one at the birthday party who never had cake and always brought his own snacks. No matter how popular, that kid never seemed to have a good time, and now I know why. Every party I have every attended outside of the dorms has had a keg of beer. To my knowledge, not one person who’s thrown a party has thought to stock up on something like hard apple cider, just in case.The dining hall has become a repetitive nightmare as well. At what was once an overwhelming smorgasbord that could satisfy whatever craving I could conjure up I now eat only stir fry, grilled chicken, and tater-tots. I still haven’t even entered the pasta room at NDH, my old reliable on “two-week-old ham” night. Not everything about my new life is all bad. Because I’m forced to eat healthy, my midsection is no longer as soft as a jelly donut, which I can’t eat anyway. If you want to know what brands of rice pasta to buy, I’m your man. Still, some wounds may never heal. Every time I see a pizza deliveryman, it’s like a slap in the face. Cans of beer laugh at me. Every day I’m painfully reminded of what used to be.My doctor says that they’re developing a drug that could reverse the effects of this disorder. She tells me it could be on the market in three years. Perfect. Just in time for full-priced pizza.